7 Ways to Have Balance in Your Busy College Life

The blissful days of summer have faded behind us and we're now in September, full swing. Going back to school means reunions with college friends and the excitement of tailgates with explosions of student body spirit, but it also brings the lows of exam season (and utter stress).

We've all been there: hidden under sweatshirts and leggings, tissues in pocket, a large iced coffee in hand, simultaneously choking back tears while enviously watching other girls on their way to the gym looking like A-list Instagram models. It's a real reality check when you're face-to-face with someone who has their life in check, and you realize your own is in shambles. 

So how is it possible to live that seemingly perfect, "endless lands of greener grass," kind of life? How can someone live a balanced life—mentally, physically, emotionally, and socially—while working towards a college degree? Is being a balanced college student a myth, or is it actually attainable? Well, Collegiettes, you totally can live a balanced life while staying motivated in your academic career by following these tips:


1. Sleep Is Your Best Friend

Not your enemy! I know, I know; sleep is the one thing college students suffer an extreme deficiency in. Twitter implodes everyday with endless tweets about lack of sleep and an incline of insomnia. However, it really is important: According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, studies show that "adequate sleep is essential to feeling awake and alert, maintaining good health and working at peak performance," as stated by Dr. Lawrence Epstein.

Sleep isn't just for avoiding feelings or passing time during the night. Furthermore, sleeping isn't a recommended activity, it is a necessity! So, maybe pulling an all-nighter really isn't all that worth it—even if it feels like the only way possible to completely achieve all of your tasks. Without the energy to help you stride through assignments, you will only be giving a portion of your best effort.


2. Time Management is KEY

Ever feel like there just aren't enough hours in the day? Hopping from class to class and from meeting to meeting (with heavy loads of homework as the cherry on top) really makes the day seem all too short. Investing in a planner can help improve your time management skills to help sort out your busy schedule. A portable planner, wall calendar, or notepad can be essential to organizing your days so that you can plan ahead. 

Google Calendar is another helpful tool as it allows you to log into your Google account on any internet enabled device to check your schedule at any given moment. With a smart phone in hand and Google Calendars downloaded, you'll constantly receive notifications if need-be to remind you of that advising appointment you keep rescheduling due to forgetfulness.

Plus, with a method for time management, you can even pencil in quick naps and look ahead to those free days with more time on your plate to spend time hanging with friends or catching that college sporting game. 


3. Snack!

Sleep isn't the only vital key to having energy to live each day—eating can help you persevere towards that degree, too!

While snacking shouldn't be your sole method of eating, it can be hard to allocate chunks of each day for meals, so it might be easier for you to grab a quick snack. To reiterate, balance in everything is everything! If you're in a crunch, substituting smaller, quicker meals with healthy snacks throughout your day is a great way to be time-efficient. 

Granola bars, protein shakes, smoothies, trail mix, and veggies are all yummy and easy to carry around with you as you hustle around campus. If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, reusable snack bags are an efficient way to be an eco-friendly college student as you run around campus! Click here for some available on Amazon.


4. Attend Campus Events/Social Life

While you may feel that you have absolutely no time to think about yourself or your social life, it really is important in order to keep stress levels down and happiness high. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and both are crucial to leading a successful academic career.

Most universities and colleges have event calendars where on-campus activities are routinely posted. Give yourself a break and go meet new people at an ice cream social or coffee hour! However, it is also easy to disregard academics and fully focus on the party scene. To avoid this, try following the “work now, play later” mindset: it can help you strive towards stellar grades while also treating yourself at the end of all your hard work.


5. Alone Time/Self Reflection

As important as it is to surround yourself with happy people and keep your social life in check, it is equally as important to allot downtime for self-reflection. Whether that be daydreaming, writing down your morning thoughts in a journal, meditation, or whatever you please, enjoying your own company is paramount.

Through finding inner peace in being solitary, you can contribute to your journey towards maximum self love and comfort in your own skin.

The folks at AC Online advise some tips here on how to incorporate mindfulness and meditation into your college routine and the importance of doing so.


6. Staying Active

Exercise, exercise, exercise! Getting sweaty and smelly isn’t everyone’s favorite activity, but releasing toxins and relieving stress through exercise is a great (and proven) way to keep your anxiety levels low.

Going for a morning run can allow your mind to sort out your daily schedule while simultaneously working those muscles! Staying active provides you with more energy to fly through your day’s responsibilities without the crave of five cups of coffee. Some universities, like UMass Amherst, offer free classes to students at a rec center. These classes (including spinning, yoga, and pilates) can introduce you to sports and activities you may grow to love and become more passionate about!


7. Study With Friends

A great way to surround yourself with friends while getting work done is by socializing with study buddies! Before exams, ask that girl who always sits next to you in your lecture to review notes. It's two birds, one stone—you are maintaining your social life while prioritizing your education. And who knows, you might just find your new BFF! It’s also never too early to work on growing your connections through networking.

Having balance in college may seem like a nice dream that comes to an end as soon as you wake up, but it can totally be attainable with a positive attitude. Keeping these tips in mind, you are sure to ease some of your stress away while staying mentally and physically fit and spending time with friends. 

Sources: 1, 2, 3

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4